10 observations and advice for young job seekers

A young job applicant inspired me to write a post that I was delaying…yes, procrastination. Today, I watched a young woman (20?)  walk into a fast food restaurant Arby’s (roast beef burger chain in North America). The woman’s attire? Spaghetti straps, a low cut top and flip flops! Both the career coach instinct and the maternal instinct did not give into  giving her some advice, in full view of the interviewer, who was in the midst of  interviewing a client. Now I feel compelled to share observations I have about young job applicants and some free advice.

10 observations and advice for young job seekers

1. Turn off your cellphone!
Barring a family emergency or life threatening event, just turn off the technology. It is simply courteous to the interviewer. You can connect with your clan afterward. This includes the “vibrate mode.” Shut it of completely. Manners please!

2. Give eye contact
A colleague of mine noticed that a young job applicant at a job fair missed the opportunity of landing an interview, because she did not give eye contact with the company contact. The applicant had an “agenda” of her own, and did not respect the basic principle of business etiquette, appropriate eye contact!

3. Eliminate “LIKE” from your vocabulary.
Save “like” for endorsing products and services on Facebook. The English language is rich (I am a certified language educator). Educate yourself and broaden your command of  English by consulting a thesaurus. You will be judged by the words you use and the manner in which you speak.

4. Replace “filler” words.
Most of us, save speaking professionals (I was a former radio broadcaster), have difficulty with eliminating filler words, like, “um.” Take a pause instead, if only for a second or two. It will set you apart!
Does it take time? Yes! But well worth the effort!

5. Dress the part
See my opening paragraph. Invest in some decent “threads.” (Is that colloquial English word still exist among the young? Let me know!) This is the most competitive work force ever, therefore, don’t leave a stone unturned.

6. Manners, above else, will score you points
Learn some courteous phrases and expressions. Develop “positive” and professional body language. Have the courage to resist saying “No problem.” when you respond to “thank you.” Replace “see you later” with “Bye” or “Take care.”  For that matter, say polite words such as “please” and “thank you” often during your interview.

7. Act enthusiastic and interested
I have read the primary motives of some young candidates who are embroiled in a “good enough” salary or wage, rather than expecting a handsome salary when breaking into the job market. “Fortune favours the bold,” said the ancient Romans.

8. Take some calculated risks
Many career experts have blogged or Tweeted about concentrating on getting a placement or internship, as a pre-cursor to a job in a desirable field. Volunteering is also gaining merit from employers, so think about a volunteer opportunity that could ignite a desired career. I’ve heard countless complaints from employers about some young job seekers’ lack of work ethic.

9. Always engage and ask questions during an interview
I always endorse the Q-A-Q strategy during an interview.
The employer asks a question. You respond and then ask a “tag question.” For example, you could ask,” Is that (skill) important in this position? Could you please tell me more?” Don’t go through the insufferable experience of being the recipient of what I call the “Spanish inquisition” interview format. In other words, giving the interviewer all the POWER to ask questions, without reciprocating after you respond to their questions. The idea is to build a dialogue or conversation, rather than remaining in the “hot seat.” A painful experience to be avoided!

10. Consult web sites that appeal to young job applicants
Some suggestions:
www.careeraviators.com (I am an associate on the site!)

Take action and stand apart!

Can you think of any other tips for young job seekers? 

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Melissa Martin

Melissa is a passionate, innovative career expert, who holds impressive credentials in the career/employment field for over 14 years. Her specialties include dealing with the unemployed, underemployed, military members, aspiring entrepreneurs and those who need “career nourishment to re-ignite themselves.”


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